I was going to call this something like: How I Started Eating Healthier And Stuck To It, but it reeked of the usual generic feeling these posts suffer from. There is so much information that lacks the personal touch, often it’s personal experience reduced down to bullet points and what’s left is often not very helpful. I’m not taking shots at my fellow bloggers, but I think maybe it’s time I share a little more of my own experience. I don’t want to talk weight-loss, dear reader, but it’s tied intrinsically with my personal journey, a journey still ongoing, one that never stops. If you want to lose weight, that’s your choice. If you want to eat healthier, that’s your choice. If you read this and use some part of it in your own journey, whether starting or already underway, yes, you guessed it, it’s your choice. I’m not absolving myself of responsibility. I’m just positioning myself as your pal, Jack. Not some good food-guru, get-fit, fitness-fanatic, detoxing-demonstrator, just Jack. Who lost ten stone (140 pounds) Who has stuck to an extremely restricted diet for almost eight years, who next month, has kept his weight stable for five years. I know my stuff, but I know the pitfalls of sharing too. I don’t want you to lose weight, I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of food, I don’t want to shame, I…I just don’t want to see anyone become what I was before I was Jack. I call them the Fat-Days and I don’t wish them on anyone.
Even when you’ve been eating healthy for a long time it’s second nature to me now, it’s very easy to feel you don’t measure up. There are so many ways to eat healthy, to eat well, it can feel that there are only a handful of correct diets, but that’s because a lot of the people showcasing their diets, via recipes, pictures, whatever, are doing so in a similar fashion. There are many reasons for that, what’s popular will dictate how people act and they’ll act that way to be popular. Now I’m not elevating myself above anyone, dear reader, but you can see it in the paid for advertising that’s becoming ubiquitous, the rigid ideas of beauty and health (In my experience health isn’t always that beautiful) that are so prominent. That’s another post, for another day, but what I’m getting at is that it’s easy to feel you’re not doing things right and to just abandon everything. You have to learn to listen to your body, if what you’re eating is making you feel better, even if it’s not very widespread, then stick to it. This is about you, dear reader, your journey, your health. Not about likes on social media, yes, I know I’m sounding like a curmudgeon, but it’s the truth. Your life will be vastly longer than the celebrity you achieve by following the crowd. If you can balance those things then go to it, but for those who, like me, have to fumble and find their own path, well, let’s see what I can dredge up from my own past to help.
Your body sings a song you need to learn the words to. Don’t glaze over, dear reader, I’m just trying to liven this up a bit. As I said above you have to listen to your body. Too often the placebo effect takes hold of people and they end up disappointed when their magical panacea runs out. Instead of looking up what foods will provide what effects, listen to what your body needs and find the foods to help. If you’re in need of assistance in pas…DON’T TYPE POOPING..ahem, lost half my readers there, then you find what’s needed, you find fibre is needed and then you find what foods will provide it. It’s slower than: This supplement will help you do everything perfectly, but it teaches you more than that ever can. You find out something at each step in the process, information that can be used again and again, rather than using a shortcut to jump ahead, one that might stop working eventually and then where are you left?
It’s getting crowded in here. I see the results of giving in to the biggest temptation in all the abandoned healthy journey’s beginnings blogs. Yes, it’s very easy to imagine that if others join you it’ll make things easier. I never did this, I also never had the luxury of having a support system for food related troubles outside of random Google searches. So, maybe I’m wrong (No never!), maybe you should tell every around you to eat what you’re going to eat, thus increasing the pressure on yourself, to inform them of how their habits are in need of change, thus limiting yourself to a restrictive view of health, see above, and so on. Look, sharing is great, but for me I waited until I was so far into this that I could actually be of help without hurting myself in the process and trust me, people don’t want the truth, they want the magic. If you’re in the right mindset then you know there is no magic. It’s hard, often gruelling, work to pull yourself out of bad habits and bad health. You can’t grab at others thinking they’ll help you along, rely on people for support sure, but don’t think you can be a messiah to healthy eating. You’ll all all the faster and may not rise again.
If in doubt, seek answers. I can’t count the times I’ve had someone very ill-informed trying to tell me what’s good or bad for me. Funnily the more weight you lose the more they think a little mistake, where it is or not never bothers them, will destroy all your progress. I know the factors that caused my obesity, I’ve read on it, thought about it, spent countless hours in self-reflection, yet if someone says to me: Can you eat that? Isn’t that fattening? Then I do get a trifle scared. That’s understandable, no one wants to go back to ill-health and you can get to a stage where you’re forgetful of all the work you’ve put in, the habits you’ve established become so every day they’re invisible to your mind’s eye. But, don’t fear, just research. Look up whatever it is that’s worrying you. There’s a special anxiety that goes with weight-loss, a forgetfulness too, you forget just how much you used to eat and how poorly you ate, so even the vague notion of weight gain is terrifying. If you research, read everything related and really understand then you won’t have to worry. You’re eating that? Yes, yes I am, you don’t know me, but I do. I don’t fear mistakes, because I can find a way to correct them.
Mixed Emotions. What healthy eating, a healthier body, a healthier lifestyle will do for you or the people around you isn’t always cut and dry. What they feel as important isn’t necessarily what’s important to you. There are so many faucets to this, it’d be impossible to get it all down here, right now. I think what can be most jarring is that people have their own views on everything, but you find people who can’t see any other side. If you’re unhappy that your weight-loss hasn’t brought about he body you wanted then it’s infuriating when all the talk you hear is about your new wardrobe. That’s a pretty apt metaphor for the whole situation, really. You’re talking skin, permanent, a vital part of you, they’re talking about changeable raiment that is just of fleeting importance by comparison. This divide happens a lot, I don’t think it ever really ends. The longer you’re on your journey, the more experience you amass, then the more ignorant these people seem. What I can only advise is to find those who’ll listen to your side and try to understand, accepting what they can’t and helping as they can. You don’t need dictators telling you how you’re feeling, what you should be doing, you need friends to listen, to advice when they can, to help you understand yourself. If all else fails, ask yourself this: Did they do what I did? Could they? If not, then you can let what they say pass in one ear and out the other.
I think, that’s it for now, dear reader. I’ve been feeling a bit off form, maybe I just needed to get something out of my journey that I could share with others, if I can offer even some little help then I feel better about all the work I’ve had to put in. I’ll see you again soon, dear reader, take care.